“So, what was your favorite meal on your trip?”

Hands down, this was the most frequently asked question after we arrived back home from France and Italy this summer.

While we sampled incredible pastries, tried a couple new styles of pizza, made sure the Italian gelato was up to snuff (tough job, I know), zeroing in on my favorite meal wasn’t difficult at all.

Lunch at Ristorante Luca in Vernazza. One of the five towns that make up Cinque Terre.

Not only were the views magnificent—an adjective that doesn’t even feel grand enough—but my spaghetti with clams and mussels were the epitome of Italian simplicity done exactly right.

This isn’t a fussy dish with a million ingredients and elaborate preparation. It’s pasta cooked perfectly al dente with the richest olive oil and kiss of garlic and parsley adorned with plump clams and mussels still in their shells. I like the interactivity of eating the shellfish this way alongside the dreamiest pasta while I gaze at the bluest waters I’ve ever seen and all the homes staggered along the cliffs. It’s a total feast for the senses, a meal that Will and I won’t forget any time soon. And look forward to revisiting someday.